This story would have been exciting enough based only on the fact that Edward P. Jones so boldly took Edward P. Jones' Bold Vision of "The Known World"
This story would have been exciting enough based only on the fact that Edward P. Jones so boldly took the antebellum novel to a place it has never gone before; namely, to black slave-owner Henry Townsend's plantation in Manchester, Virginia. There, the "Known World" is wholly different from what one might expect. But this seemingly obviously absurd anomaly of U.S. history, wherein black masters owned black slaves, doesn’t stop with that rarely discussed fact. It is further illuminated by Jones' flights into the fantastic with observations of sentient lightning, children with the personalities of bitter grandparents, and, comically enough, freak chickens.
Mixed within this potent literary brew are some of the most original and dynamic characters, male and female, ever to step into the pages of American fiction. In fact, one of the more remarkable features of Jones’ amazing novel is his portrayal of how specific individuals sometimes managed to exploit the institution of slavery in order to indulge their own private needs, quirks, or agendas.
It's true that the alternating biblical density and epic expansiveness of details and events with which Jones builds his narrative can at times prove challenging. However, this same aesthetic ultimately delivers a triumphant satisfaction. Jones' Pulitzer--and any other awards received for this novel--was well earned and deserved.
by Author-Poet Aberjhani author of "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" (Facts on File Library of American History) and "The Wisdom Of W.E.B. Du Bois" (Wisdom Library) ...more
THE SUBTERRANEANS is a novel remarkable for a number of distinctions, not the least of which is the report that GrandIF LOVE WERE JAZZ AND VICE VERSA
THE SUBTERRANEANS is a novel remarkable for a number of distinctions, not the least of which is the report that Grand Beat Master Jack Kerouac wrote it in only three days. The book's analytical depths, structural complexity, and richness of language would make one more inclined to believe it took three years to write. To read this novel is to sink into a mesmerizing whirl of bebop jazz rhythms, uncompromising confession, and the audacity of raw images for which Kerouac and other Beat Writers were so well known.
Kerouac's main characters in THE SUBTERRANEANS are Leo, an Anglo-American, and his love interest Mardou, an African-Native American. The interracial nature of this relationship (supposedly based on a real-life one that Kerouac had in 1953) is not ignored but neither does it dominate the novel. A question clear from the beginning is not only whether or not Leo and Mardou can successfully navigate their very intensely fragile personalities and sustain a mutually satisfying relationship, but also whether or not they can survive the excessive weights of history and bigotry.
The entire culture of bebop jazz forms an important backdrop for the novel and Kerouac expresses his love for the music in short homages paid to some its giants, including saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker. Likewise, a number of Kerouac's Beat writer pals can be found (as in other works by him) in supporting roles in this novel: Allen Ginsberg as the character of Adam Moorad; William Burroughs as Frank Carmody; and Gregory Corso as Yuri Gligoric. This a true and thoroughly enjoyable American classic from one of our most true and thoroughly enjoyable writers. It's also a good book to read at a time when the world seems to be discovering and celebrating Kerouac all over again.
by Aberjhani author of "I Made My Boy Out of Poetry" and "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" (Facts on File Library of American History) ...more
the fact that the first african-american to win the nobel prize for literature is reading this amzazing work on the pleasures of intellectual stimulatthe fact that the first african-american to win the nobel prize for literature is reading this amzazing work on the pleasures of intellectual stimulation and growth through reading is really the only qualification it needs to command the highest recommendations. nevertheless, by moving beyond the sense of awe that toni morrison tends to inspire just by being toni morrison, one is able to delve into the wonders of her own dancing mind as revealed in this thrilling audio book.[return:][return:]aberjhani[return:]author of "encyclopedia of the harlem renaissance"[return:]"the wisdom of w.e.b. du bois"[return:]and "visions of a skylark dressed in black"...more